Martin O’Neill will ride out the Irish storm, predicts Brian Kerr

Brian Kerr expects the Republic of Ireland side will do enough next month for Martin O’Neill to ride out the remnants of the storm that has engulfed the Derryman in the last week.

Martin O’Neill will ride out the Irish storm, predicts Brian Kerr

By Brendan O’Brien

Brian Kerr expects the Republic of Ireland side will do enough next month for Martin O’Neill to ride out the remnants of the storm that has engulfed the Derryman in the last week.

The Republic face Denmark and Wales in the Nations League in October after a tempestuous spell which included the 4-1 drubbing to the Welsh in Cardiff and the fallout – Stephen Ward’s leaked WhatsApp message included - from Roy Keane’s disputes with Harry Arter and Jonathan Walters.

Tuesday’s battling 1-1 draw with Poland in Wroclaw was critical in dousing the flames that had been licking at the feet of O’Neill and his assistant, despite the fact that it was otherwise a meaningless friendly, and Kerr is of the opinion that the worst of the conflagration is over.

“It depends on how it turns around because until now they could justifiably say it has worked quite well because the end product is how the results have gone - if that’s the criteria in the whole evaluation process, results.

“Now, I would think that whole criteria is a bit more extended than that. It’s also what’s happening next. What are we preparing for? Are we prepared for the future? Is it easy to watch, nice on the eye?

“And what we saw blatantly last week, it wasn’t easy to watch. It wasn’t easy on the eye. We got thumped. Will it last long? Results in the next two games are important but I don’t see us losing the next two games. I think we’ll get a draw or a win in either.”

That’s not based on the Polish result. Kerr was taken aback by the difference in tempo and general intensity between the Nations League games and various friendlies played around Europe last week but he doesn’t get the sense that the FAI’s support for the management team has been compromised.

Nor that it will.

“I don’t think there will be the same sense of pressure from the media, and within the FAI they seem to be solid. The last manager, (Giovanni) Trapattoni, left because of the public’s discontent with him, and the media’s discontent, and the FAI had to respond to that. Previous to that, (Steve) Staunton, it was the same.

So what will it be this time? I don’t think the FAI discontent will come because of financial issues associated with their contract issues, the amount of money involved.

“The only way the FAI are going to be affected is by the discontent of the public or the media. The media do affect the FAI’s thinking but the public can only affect the FAI’s opinion by their refusal to go to matches and while the media are showing a lot of discontent the public can be easily be swayed by a good result, as we saw the other night.”

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